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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Following False Visions And The Predominant Fault part two

This section of Garrigou-Lagrange is very similar to what St. Ignatius wrote and what I highlighted earlier today. That is that Satan watches us and plays on our weaknesses. There will be more posts on these in the next two days.

These sections should be part of prayer, 101. For without dealing with our predominant fault, there is no moving on into the Dark Night, Illumnative and Unitive states. Later on, I can show how the predominant fault, unless dealt with in this life, is the reason we go to purgatory-not for one number of sins, but for not dealing with the main fault.

Evidently it is of primary importance that we recognize our predominant fault and have no illusions about it. This is so much the more necessary as our adversary, the enemy of our soul, knows it quite well and makes use of it to stir up trouble in and about us. In the citadel of our interior life, which is defended by the different virtues, the predominant fault is the weak spot, undefended by the theological and moral virtues. The enemy of souls seeks exactly this easily vulnerable point in each one, and he finds it without difficulty. Therefore, we must recognize it also.
But how can we discern it? For beginners who are sincere, this is quite easy. But later the predominant fault is less apparent, for it tries to hide itself and to put on the appearances of a virtue: pride clothes itself in the outward appearances of magnanimity, and pusillanimity seeks to cover itself with those of humility. Yet we must succeed in discerning the predominant fault, for if we do not know it, we cannot fight it; and if we do not fight it, we have no true interior life.

One must pray to see it and then to have the courage and strength to deal with it. One cannot work fully in the Church with the problem of the predominant fault creeping up over and over in our dealings with others and the truth. This should be obvious.

That we may discern it, we must first of all ask God for light: "Lord, make me know the obstacles I more or less consciously place in the way of the working of Thy grace in me. Then give me the strength to rid myself of them, and, if I am negligent in doing so, do Thou deign to free me from them, though I should suffer greatly."

This next part is KEY. Like Ignatius of Loyola, Garrigou-Lagrange sees the absolute necessity of a daily examination of conscience. After a while, this happens automatically, after a sin or imperfection, God shows it to one immediately.

After thus asking sincerely for light, we must make a serious examination. How? By asking ourselves: "Toward what do my most ordinary preoccupations tend, in the morning when I awake, or when I am alone? Where do my thoughts and desires go spontaneously?" We should keep in mind that the predominant fault, which easily commands all our passions, takes on the appearance of a virtue and, if it is not opposed, it may lead to impenitence. Judas fell into impenitence through avarice, which he did not will to dominate; it led him to impenitence like a violent wind that hurls a ship on the rocks.

To be continued....